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Waiting times in Wales increase in nine out of eleven categories

Data released yesterday shows average waiting times for knee and hip procedures have risen in the last year with patients having to wait over nine months for each.

The figures, published by Patients Episode Data Wales, come despite a decrease of 2.5% in elective admissions on the previous year, and also show that those in need of a hernia diagnosis have to wait on average over four months.

Median 2017/18 waits in Wales have increased on the last year for treatment of the upper digestive tract and heart, and diagnoses of heart disease, flu/pneumonia, and head injuries as well. Data shows the numbers are getting worse year-on-year.

Waits for Sepsis diagnosis have doubled in the last year to 26 days on average. Sepsis kills more people than breast, bowel, and prostate cancer combined.

Shadow Health Secretary and Welsh Conservative Angela Burns AM has been a long-time campaigner to raise awareness for Sepsis and criticised the Welsh Government last week for the absence of a protocol card for those in Ambulance call centres on how to deal with sepsis.

The worst performing health board is North Wales’ Betsi Cadwaladr where waits for a knee operation is an average of 339 days – an increase of 95 days on the previous year’s figure. The health board – three and half years in special measures – saw waits increase in ten categories.

Mrs Burns said:

“It is clear that the Welsh Government’s inability to manage our NHS is posing a real clinical risk to patients, subjecting them to ever lengthening waits for vital treatment and is unable to support patients, post-treatment.

“Despite a costly and short-sighted drive to bring down referral to treatment times and diagnostic and therapy times, they have failed to reduce waits overall. Instead, the rush to bring waiting times down has created huge pressure for Wales’ outpatient departments, creating a backlog in the patients needing follow up treatment.

“It is vital for the people of Wales to understand that the Welsh Labour Government are not ruining our NHS primarily because of funding – but because it is incompetent and has a devastating record of poor management.”